HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Hanover County School Board is weighing whether to start the 2023-24 school year before Labor Day, a potential shift that would change the start of summer break.

The proposal before the board calls for the 2023-24 school year to begin Aug. 21, 2023, and end May 31, 2024. New teachers would report to schools on Aug. 7, 2023, and the teachers’ work week would be Aug. 14-18, 2023.

Hanover schools is seeking input from the community about a pre-Labor Day start after opening up public comment on the proposal from Dec. 15 until to Jan. 5. While school officials said they received feedback from around 275 to 280 people during that period, the School Board decided to open up a window for more people to share their feelings on a pre-Labor Day start.

Here’s some of the repeated comments the school district received as feedback from Dec. 15 to Jan. 5:

Community Input supporting post-Labor Day opening

  • Impact on family vacations
  • Lower prices for rentals in late August
  • Ocean is warmer in August
  • Pre-planned vacations impacted
  • Heat — Lack of air-conditioning on buses
  • Creates conflicts for families with children starting college
  • Negative impact on summer jobs
  • No need to change. “It isn’t broke so don’t fix it.”

Community Input supporting pre-Labor Day opening

  • Aligns with other divisions, regional Schools (CodeRVA, MLWGS, Virtual Virginia), colleges and universities
  • Supports student learning
  • Less instructional down time after SOL testing
  • Supports high school programs by aligning with testing windows (ACA, AP, IB)
  • Supports family time for student athletes
  • Earlier end date is favorable
  • As demand shifts for summer programs to start earlier due to the majority of divisions ending in May and starting before Labor Day, our students and employees will be able to participate in the programs.

Regarding the changes for student athletes, the director of the Hanover schools’ Calendar Committee said Tuesday that a pre-Labor Day opening and existing rules from the Virginia High School League would make way for more off time for the students.

“The VHSL will not allow practices for our high school athletes before August 1st. So, in our current situation, they have practice for the whole month of August, they dedicate that to their fall sport. But with an earlier opening, it reduces that before school practice time to two weeks,” Nancy Disharoon said during a School Board meeting on Tuesday. “So, in essence, those students would gain two additional weeks to their summer.”

Parents, staff and community members have until May 27 to share their input on a pre-Labor Day start with the school district. Those interested have been asked to email hcpscalendarinput@hcps.us.

The county’s School Board is expected to vote on the start of the 2023-24 year at its June 14 meeting.

The calendar for the next school year has already been approved and won’t be impacted by any decision the board makes for 2023-24. Hanover’s 2022-23 school year will be from Sept. 6 until June 15, 2023.